Here's What Businesses Really Want From The iPad

Tim cook ipad appleAPApple CEO Tim Cook

Apple is in the middle of a huge push into big businesses, which it hopes will revitalize its iPad business.

We’re now learning more about what kind of apps businesses are looking for on iPads and other tablets, thanks to a recent report from Good Technology.

Last week we reported on the importance of custom apps in the enterprise.

Good’s data shows that in fact a lot of businesses do want these apps. It was the second-most important category, with 27% of Good customers saying they wanted custom apps.

The only type of tablet app companies craved more were document editing apps — think Microsoft Office for iPad — which 36% of companies said they wanted. No wonder the free versions of Office apps immediately topped the Apple Store charts.

Rounding out the list were document access, secure messaging, and secure browsing.

Custom-made apps were also the top-desired category for smartphones.

This makes a lot of sense: companies have written millions of custom Windows apps over the years, and those apps are often an essential part of how employees work. For companies to get full value out of their tablets and phones, these apps — or some equivalent — have to become available for the newer devices.

This result also highlights one huge difference between selling to consumers and businesses. There’s no way a single consumer (or even a 1,o00 consumers banded together) could tell Apple, “We’d like you to build an app exactly how we’d like it. Just for us.”

That’s essentially what businesses want from Apple.

Luckily, Apple enlisted IBM’s enterprise expertise in July for this very reason. Big Blue is reportedly working on “100 industry-specific enterprise solutions” for prospective tablet buyers.

We’ll have to wait and see if those solutions are enough to move the needle for Apple.

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